Trivia I learned from books, Vol. 5

I know a lot of trivia (for ex: there are [were?] blue people in West Virginia, boring article and more interesting article if you don’t believe me) and from my earlier trivia posts you can see a lot of it I learned from books. No worries, I have real life experiences and street smarts too, people! I am NOT just book smart.

Maybe if I keep telling myself that it will be true.

I read in phases, sometimes lots of paranormals, or contemporary chick lit, or historical romance. This week’s trivia comes from the latter category:

    1. Gold fede ring: as in “As Cyn slid the gold fede ring on Chastity’s finger, tears sprung to her eyes.”

fede_ringWhile (duh) I know what a gold ring is, why did Jo Beverly in My Lady Notorious include “fede” in there? To start off with “fede” is an Italian word directly translating to “faith” in English, but has many other connotations.

 Turns out a fede ring has two hands clasped together and the design has been commonly used as a betrothal ring or other unifying signifance throughout antiquity.

In regards to popularity during certain time periods I found: “from the 12th through the 17th centuries it was a fairly common form of marriage ring and occasionally employed as a ring that connoted friendship. Most were in silver or silver gilt, few in gold. The motif is seen again in the 19th century [when My Lady Notorious takes place] and still found today.”

What this all reminds me of is the rings my Irish friends have worn with two hands holding a heart with a crown. Usually as a “promise ring” or Claddaghring“engaged to be engaged” ring, or sometimes my friends’ parents have given it to them. That one is called a Claddagh ring, and is under the umbrella of “fede rings” and is just a distinctive type of the larger group.

I am so happy I decided to look this up! How romantic is that?!?! I love the symbolism it represents,  how meaningful the design can make the ring, and can just imagine how being given something with special connotations like this would make the wearer feel!

    2. Odalisque: as in “And there you were Sophie, my very own odalisque come to bewitch me.”

From the context of Banallt’s conversation with Sophie in Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal I guessed it was something positive to be called? Maybe mythical? Egyptian?

I was pretty much wrong there. “An odalisque was a female slave in the harems of the Ottoman Empire. While not a concubine of the harem, it was possible that she could become one. Odalisques were ranked at the bottom of the harem’s social structure.” So um yeah, that doesn’t seem very nice of Banallt to call Sophie that!

 HOWEVER upon reading further it turns out odalisque took on a slightly different meaning, “During the 19th century [when Scandal is set], odalisques became common fantasy figures in the artistic movement known as Orientalism, being featured in many erotic paintings of the era.”

Well now, that’s better Banallt!

La Grande Odalisque, JAD Ingres. 1814

La Grande Odalisque, JAD Ingres. 1814

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5 Responses

  1. I am now a true-believer in blue people.

    I also now want to know more about odalisques.

  2. as i was reading all that about the fede ring, i kept thinking “this reminds me so much of claddaghs!” …so i’m glad there is a legit tie-in between the two :-)

    i’m off to read about blue people…

  3. Second Alice on that. I think I like the fede ring just with hands holding best.

  4. f.B: you shouldn’t have doubted me. i think odalisques should make a come back

    Alice: great minds think alike!

    Art: yeah I hadn’t seen that before. i sorta really want one too, that was a picture of an antique one though…

  5. i want a hand ring! i love wanting to research words because of a book. this is a fabulous idea for a post. fabulous.

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